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Francis Williams Deane, American Captain and Australian immigrant

Date: 1857 - 1870
Overall: 12 x 79 x 69 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ambrotype photographic print, Glass, velvet. Union Case (made from shellac and wood fibres, or gutta percha, pressed into a steel mold).
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Maurice Deane
Object Name: Ambrotype
Object No: 00008367

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    HistoryGold was discovered in California in 1848 and in Victoria in 1851. Over the next fifty years, prospectors travelled between Australia and America to find their fortunes.

    Francis Williams Deane was born around 1820 in Raynham, Massachusetts, USA. He made several trips between the USA and Australia as a pilot or Captain. Deane arrived in Sydney in November 1848 as master of the Bark Milwood of New Bedford, before joining the 'forty-niners' on the Yuma diggings in Arizona. Deane is said 'said to have left America a pier jump ahead of the San Francisco Vigilantes' when moving permanently to Victoria a few years later.

    Deane was naturalised in Williamstown, Victoria in 1854. On his naturalization certificate he was described as 'a master mariner who arrived from the US on board the MARY & ELLEN and who intends to purchase land and establish himself in the said colony'. In 1868 Deane married Thirza Haskell, 'daughter of George Haskell, pioneer post-master at Melbourne'.

    According to a local historian, 'Captain Deane called his home 'Yosemite'… it was his habit to ride round the streets of Williamstown on a small skewbald pony, complete with Mexican saddle and savagely rowelled spurs. A heaving line [lasso] was coiled on the pommel like a lariat, and jammed on the head of the pilot would be his shiny stovepipe hat'.
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